Legislator Manas Bhunia’s party affiliations were questioned in the Assembly on Monday, leading to the Congress to walk out in protest.
Although he had quit the Congress and joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) after addressing a press conference in September this year, his name in the Assembly officially showed him as a legislator from the Congress.
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Nirmal Ghosh, the chief whip of the TMC in the Assembly, issued a note which read Manas’ name at number five of the 14 speakers to partake in the demonetisation issue. He was mentioned as a Congress MLA.
When the note was circulated on the floor, Abdul Mannan, leader of the Opposition and Congress legislative party in the Assembly, protested saying, “It is the discretion of the Congress party to nominate the speaker on the floor. It is unfortunate that the Speaker has nominated someone from Congress although we have not nominated him,” Mannan said.
Speaker Biman Banerjee countered saying that he could allow anyone who wished to speak. Congress MLAs then walked out of the Assembly. Left Front MLAs too joined the walkout in solidarity but returned soon to take part in the discussion.
“The Congress walked out over a personal issue when a discussion on such a serious affair was on. It is unfortunate,” said Mamata. However, Bhunia left before his turn and refrained from speaking. A source in the TMC said the CM had asked him to leave.
“The CM said that she did not want any discrepancy and that there should be a unanimous decision on the resolution by all the party members other than BJP. She did not want the Bhunia issue to be an impediment to the proceedings. That is why she had asked (Partha) Chatterjee to direct Dr Bhunia to leave before his turn came,” said a TMC MLA.